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There is a bit of controversy and discussion happening right now about signings. Some stores require a purchase when hosting signings. The problem is, a lot of people now buy books in e format, so they have nothing to sign but they still want to meet the author. We’ve got a couple of emails asking about our view on it.
First, for the brick-and-mortar bookstores to survive, they must turn a profit. Requiring a purchase makes sense from the business standpoint. Obviously, the author benefits from this requirement. Authors tour to meet fans, but also to sell books, and books sold during the tour are counted toward bestseller lists such as NYT and USAT. However, what about those fans who have already purchased the book in other formats? Bookstores have no business interest in these readers, because they are not potential customers, but authors do. That’s why for a while we did meet and greets, but at first 15 people showed up, and now it’s more like 80-100. Unfortunately, that’s too many.
When you come to our signing, we will sign anything you put in front of us. Books, audio books, kindle covers, autograph notebooks, onesies – this comes up surprisingly more often than you would think, posters, etc. But when we visit the bookstore, we are bound by the rules of that bookstore. We are guests and we have to follow their policies. Please contact the store for signing policies. If you don’t want to purchase a book, but the store requires it, you can always come up to us before or after the signing and we will sign whatever you bring us.
There is really no etiquette as far as signings are concerned. Generally, we ask that people who have trouble walking or have small children get to the front of the line. We ask that those of you who bring more than five books, get your five signed and then wait until the end of the signing to get the additional books signed. And please don’t touch us without asking. We have no problem with friendly hugs and will hug you if you would like us to, but we had a couple of incidents that went too far. That’s pretty much it. Other authors might have their own takes on it, but most of it is usually common sense.
With this in mind, would you like us to do something for people who can’t attend signings? We can do a live Q&A, a Facebook Live event, or something similar for Hugh’s book, for example?